What exactly are hand wraps, and are they really necessary for boxing? What are the best hand wraps, and how are you supposed to wrap your hands properly?
Let’s dig into it.
First things first—why is it so important that fighters wrap their hands, anyway?
The primary purpose of hand wraps is to protect a fighter’s most important weapon—their hands!
Your hands are made up of many fragile joints and delicate bones that can very easily break from the impact of repeated punches. Hand wraps are there to hold your hand together, providing support for your fingers, knuckles, wrists, and the entire hand in general.
Many people are under the impression that hand wraps are for extra cushion or protection for their knuckles, but this actually isn’t the case. The boxing hand wraps’ main purpose is not to cushion the impact—that’s what the boxing gloves are for, but to secure all your moveable bones and loose joints. The hand wrap fastens all your joints together, so that the shock is better distributed across your entire hand. You don’t want your joints to be moving freely and independently when your hand strikes the heavy bag or an opponent. This could lead to a serious fracture.
Additionally, if your hands are loose when you throw a punch, it’s very easy for the tiny joints in your hand to collapse over each other and break. And even if you don’t break your hand, you don’t want to risk frustrating hand injuries that can prevent you from doing everyday things such as carrying things, typing on a computer, or even holding a pen. Save your hands for life after boxing and wear hand wraps whenever you are throwing punches whether that is with a partner or without!
When it comes to hand wraps, there are really only two main types of hand wraps which makes it easy to pick the right type for you; professional hand wraps and training hand wraps.
Professional hand wraps are most commonly seen in fights but can also be seen among many high-level fighters during training. Professional hand wraps usually consist of layers of tape and thin gauze, which is often applied by a trainer or cornerman. What most people refer to when they say ‘hand wraps’ are the ones used for training—which you wrap up yourself.
When it comes to training hand wraps, there are a few different options. Some hand wraps offer a bit of a stretch to them, meaning they fit the hand tighter and often form to the shape of the hand a lot closer. Other training hand wraps are non-stretch, which are usually made with thicker material, fitting slightly differently without the risk of being too tight. Both types of boxing hand wraps will do a great job protecting your hands, and fit is really down to what you prefer.
While figuring out the type of wrap to use isn’t very difficult, the length can be another story. Boxing hand wraps come in a range of lengths, so it’s important to know how much you need. A lot of this honestly boils down to trial and error, but as a general rule of thumb, the bigger your hands, the more cloth you’ll need to adequately wrap your hands securely.
In addition to the length of the hand wrap, you should also consider the width. Two inches is standard for a boxing hand wrap width, but you can find some brands offering thicker or thinner widths. It’s all down to personal preference rather than results.
If you fasten your hand wraps with velcro, wider wraps will provide you with more grip.
How Do You Properly Wrap Your Hands For Boxing?
There are a ton of different ways to wrap your hands, depending on how tight you want it and whether you are comfortable wrapping between each one of your fingers.
Here is a step-by-step guide to a standard hand wrapping:
- With your dominant hand, pick up your boxing hand wrap material.
- With the palm of your opposing hand facing down—away from you—spread your fingers fully and place your thumb on the hand wrap, looping the material around to secure it in place.
- Take the cloth and wrap it around your wrist until you feel a little tightness, which should be after about three wraps. Check that it isn’t restricting your circulation.
- Repeat your wrap of the thumb, followed by the wrist, at least three more times until it feels secure.
- Now, start to wrap your knuckles from right to left, across your palm three times, as tightly as you can while still being comfortable, with your fingers still spread apart.
- Then, bring it back around your wrist and loop it around.
- Now, bring the wrap between your middle finger and ring finger, and wrap across the palm, then bring it back over the top of your thumb.
- From this position, wrap around your knuckles once more, then bring it around your wrist for a final loop.
- Finish by securing your fastening, which most likely is velcro.
It can be helpful to think of the hand wrap as a figure-eight pattern as you work from your palm to between your fingers. This is otherwise known as a ‘ribbon’ pattern.
When Should I Clean My Hand Wraps?
Wash your Boxing wraps after every class. It is best to use a garment back to avoid excessive tangling.Throw your boxing hand wraps in the washer with your regular clothes and ensure to throw them in the dryer afterwards. You can wash multiple hand wraps at once in a garment bag. Just be sure to wrap them up after they come out of the dryer, so the next time you unroll them to wrap your hands next, they will be fresh and easier to use!
Pro Tip: Never—under any circumstances—use wet hand wraps during your boxing class—whether they are wet from the wash or wet from yesterday’s class. This is a breeding ground for bacteria!
How Long Do Boxing Hand Wraps Last?
To maximize your boxing hand wraps lifespan, always put clean hand wraps on clean hands. Having more than one set of hand wraps will mean you can rotate them and get each set sparkling clean before their next use. This will give you the very best chance to keep them smelling fresh for as long as possible, and in turn, will help protect your boxing gloves.
Typically, you can work at around five to six months per set of boxing hand wraps, but the signs that they are ready for retirement will include a faded color—or white straps turning grey—plus any lingering nasty smells or rips in the material. Wraps are not very expensive and you can find a good quality set for under $20.
If you’re new to the exciting world of boxing, it’s important to find an amazing gym like Endgame Boxing and Fitness with experienced trainers available to help you properly wrap your hands.
Give Endgame Boxing and Fitness a try today—you’ll be glad you did!
We have a free trial class available to be booked on our website.
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